Two Reading Challenge Updates

Starting off a new year, I’m always full of plans and goals – some involving books, some involving the (less important) rest of life.  Often, I set a number of books I’d like to read – usually 100, since I’ve found that’s where I naturally fall when left to my own devices.  (Sometimes my total is in the high nineties, some times a little over one hundred.)  I might occasionally add a goal to read a certain number of classics, since I love them – they’re my comfort reading – but can tend to get distracted by new releases.

Goal #1 – Read Diversely

Last year, I set a goal of reading at least 33% books by diverse authors – people of color, LGBT authors, Muslims, and other underrepresented groups.  I ended up with just a hair over 40% and was very happy with my result.  This year, I set the goal of 33% again and, as of the time of this posting, was hovering around 39%, which I think is quite good, considering I haven’t been as diligent about it this year as I was last year.

Last year, I built myself a nice cushion in February – Black History Month – by declaring that I would only read books by African or African-American authors.  I had a wonderful month of reading and it helped put me over the top at the end of the year.  This year, I wasn’t able to do that, thanks to library deadlines resulting from some overeager hold-placing.  (Oops.)  But I seem to be doing okay anyway!

My total was also helped last year by listening to the All the Books! podcast.  Liberty and Rebecca are great about recommending diverse books and I checked out quite a few books by people of color on their recommendation.  I’ve since stopped listening to the podcast, mainly because my podcatcher is full already, and I want to have some time for audiobooks, so I’ve trimmed my subscriptions down to just my very favorites.  But if I get to fall and my diverse books percentage isn’t good, I may add them back into my rotation.

Favorite diverse books of the year (so far): The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas; Code Talker, by Chester Nez; March: Book 3, by Representative John Lewis; and In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, by Diane Guerrero.

Goal #2: Project 24

Did I mention I was trying to do Project 24 this year?  (I think I did – but to be perfectly honest, I can’t be bothered to go back and check my old posts.)  Anyway, for the uninitiated, Project 24 is the brainchild of Simon from Stuck in a Book (who also happens to host my favorite podcast, Tea or Books?).  The idea is to buy only twenty-four books in a calendar year – so, a pace working out to two per month.  This may sound like a lot of books still, but I assure you, for the ardent bibliophile, it is not.

Two books per month is the pace I try to hold to every year, but as you know, I have quite a few exceptions.  This year, however, I am not using my exceptions – I am strictly and diligently holding to twenty-four books for the year, and feeling quite disciplined and pleased with myself.

Of course, the truth of the matter is, this project is backfiring on me just a little.  Restricting myself from buying books when I want them, unless it’s a new calendar month, is allowing me to make excuses for buying fancy Folio Society hardcovers when I do purchase a book.  It’s entirely possible that Project 24 may not end up saving me money.  But I’ll have to wait for the end of the year to make that judgment.

So, what have I bought?

  • The Red House Mystery, by A.A. Milne (Folio Society)
  • The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge (Folio Society)
  • Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery (Folio Society)
  • Anne of Avonlea, by L.M. Montgomery (Folio Society)
  • Envelope Poems, by Emily Dickinson (The Gorgeous Nothings)
  • Mary Barton, by Elizabeth Gaskell (Folio Society)
  • Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell (Folio Society)
  • North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell (Folio Society)
  • Anderby Wold, by Winifred Holtby (Virago)
  • The Land of Green Ginger, by Winifred Holtby (Virago)

So, as you can see – ten books by May, right on track.  And all but three of them are Folio Society products.  (If I ever get loose in the Folio Society bookshop – look out, world.  It’s a good thing the shop is in London.)

For the rest of the year – I have my eye on completing the Elizabeth Gaskell set (three down, two – Sylvia’s Lovers and Ruth – to go), and on the Folio Once and Future King.  All three are no longer available from the publisher, so I’ve been stalking AbeBooks.  I’d also love to add some of the Furrowed Middlebrow books to my shelves, the gorgeous Mary McCarthy and Sarah Orne Jewett compilations from Library of America, some Persephone Classics, and some more Trollope.  So I suppose I’ll have some decisions to make…

Have you set any bookish goals for 2017?  How are they going?

3 thoughts on “Two Reading Challenge Updates

  1. thanks for the lovely mention of Tea or Books? – and for joining in with Project 24! You’ve also alerted me to the Folio edition of The Red House Mystery, which i didn’t realise they’d done. How lovely! At one point I had 3 copies of this novel, and I think I’ve rationed since, so probably don’t need to buy more…

    • Thank you for the great podcast and the wonderful challenge idea! I’ve been a bit bad and used Project 24 as an excuse to buy almost exclusively Folio Society books – but it’s the intention that counts, right? Love the podcast and your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine. 🙂

  2. Pingback: A Project 24 Update | Covered In Flour

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